There was a nice video I watched of a racer testing on a track (I imagine optimal surface condition to test for speed), he saved like a second from riding steel and riding latest and greatest carbon.
I'm actually going to disagree with some posters and say a better bike (stiffer, lighter) will probably make you faster (though I doubt it would be as much as 2 MPH). It sounds like you've put in the hard work fitness wise so you know 2 things
1) You like riding, and you're going to be doing a good deal more
2) As far as fitness goes, you're now at the point of diminishing returns. It's like you've knocked down the low lying fruit (fitness, bike handling, group riding etc) so I see a new bike as totally justifiable if you want it
Over 60 minutes my mean maximum output is 280 watts. If I were to go from an upright position to an aero position I might save 4 minutes over a 20 mile ride that originally took an hour.
My mean maximum power output for 56 minutes is 281 watts (the curve is very flat at that point). I've plugged this into my calculator (You could double check on something like Analytic Cycling) and I find that this 1 watt increase in power would reduce my time by a further 3 seconds over the same 20 mile course, so the total improvement over the course would be 4 minutes and 3 seconds.
Essentially; whilst the effect you describe does occur, it is very small compared to the main time saving (certainly it would be very difficult to measure it in real life).
It does seem counter intuitive doesn't it?! But it is a totally real effect.... it essentially boils down to the fact that a 5% improvement on 60 minutes (3 minutes faster) is higher than a 5% improvement on 45 minutes (2.25 minutes faster).
It is great news for people like me who aren't particularly fast: we actually gain more from an expensive bike than someone who is faster :-D
... although we will still be ultimately slower. :-( !
I wonder if getting a thinner tire than 23mm would increase speed. Do they even make tires thinner than that?
A nicer bike absolutely will absolutely go very much faster especially under extreme conditions. 4 minutes shaved off a 20 minute ride. I Have Personal Experience. There's a hill by my house. Had to walk it with my blue/chrome '75 Sekine. I rode the hill with my nicer red/black bike with 105/Ultrega/Triple front CR, and carbon seat post.
Making sure there wasn't other critical factors invalidating the test, I wore the same shoe/pedal combo and the same helmet.
Proof, riding is faster than walking. I can't believe this thread has been around 3 1/2 years and nobody figured that out. Did I mention there is less power robbing friction from the chain in that little tiny front chain ring?
This is all so asinine. "2 minutes over bla bla bla distance" and such... Why do you care? Are you doing time trials on your road bike and losing by a few seconds? If so, train harder. If you're racing or riding in a pack, the drafting will effectively eliminate any advantages of the "nicer" bike until you're in an all out sprint for the finish, and then the nice bike will only matter if you are losing by half a wheel. The solution to that is also to train harder. I know this has already been said and I don't have to post in these threads, but I feel like people forget that drafting/strategy are far more important in racing than the bike, and people that obsess over the bike are often not racing at all, in which case the only thing that matters is how the bike feels to you because time savings are pointless unless you're competing. /Rant.
nice posts Machin.
also (if you don't mind sharing), how heavy are you? you humbly mention that you're not fast, but if you're on the lighter side, a 280w 60min puts you well in the middle range of competitive amateur cyclists.
It might be dumb for people who do road races and aren't competitive for the podium. Racers are quick to point out: it's not about being fast, it's about crossing the line first. If you're not a few seconds away, or a few tenths of seconds, the small incremental speeds are not important. But that's racing. Makes perfect sense for you, I wouldn't dream of arguing.
But as for the rest of us who aren't racing, many of us do like to go faster and every few seconds is cause for celebration! And the slower we are, the more important are those few seconds, or minutes as the case may be. (the voice of experience LOL)
BTW, when I started cycling later in life, the single piece of equipment that resulted in the most improvement was a $12 Bell cyclocomputer showing me just how slow I really was. I immediately improved by leaps and bounds! No doubt a power meter would do the same, only better, because it's harder to delude yourself about intensity with actual, real numbers. Yet, if I can kick my performance up with equipment, however I may judge and compare, you bet I'm all in on that.